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Time for the dinosaurs to be extinct?

 Is it just me or do you say dinosaur and then mentally do a George Pig ‘grrrrrrr’?  Ok so that’s just me then…

 Moving on…

 As part of my becoming middle aged / turning into my mother, I’ve rediscovered Woman’s Hour on Radio 4.  Between this and a fondness for the Today programme I have to be starting to slide down the slope away from being hip and young into a world of elastic-waisted trousers and tutting at people who stand on the wrong side of the underground escalators…

There was an interesting piece on today’s programme (thank you iplayer for letting me listen to the radio whilst ploughing through a HUGE set of spreadsheet calculations) about flexible working and whether it is possible to have a job with significant responsibility and for flexible working to work

What really made me cross was one of the panelists saying that you absolutely cannot have a senior role with responsibility and a need to deliver to clients and work part time.  Her view was firmly that if you worked part time someone else was going to be left picking up your pieces and in any case you’d end up not delivering properly so you wouldn’t have a career

Isn’t it sad that such attitudes still exist

I know that the hardest thing I have found is the automatic assumption that I couldn’t do my job and be on a reduced contract.  I pushed hard to get the opportunity to show that I can make it work and in fact yesterday my client said he hadn’t realised I work less than full time because of course he doesn’t

Part time working doesn’t mean that suddenly you stop checking your email after 5pm or over the weekend Part time working doesn’t mean you never attend meetings or work on your day off – if you have to you are there doing your job but you try and carve out that day to at least be away from the office and you claw back the time when things are quieter (roll on August and the FOUR, count them 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 weeks I now have booked out)

Part time working doesn’t mean that you suddenly stop caring about your work or your career – you don’t become rubbish at your job because you reduce your hours

 And yet a lot of people I work for seem to think this is the case – they cannot see past perhaps a bad experience in the past with someone not really working hard at home, past the assumption that perhaps they wouldn’t be as flexible as I can be or just a mistrust of anyone who isn’t in the office all the time
I know that my boss would prefer me to be working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year but there is no way that is going to happen.  When I need to work and be available I am and when I don’t have to be I’m not going to sit around for the sake of it

Also let’s me absolutely clear, I am paid less now so I will work less – admittedly the reality is that I have gone from working 7 days a week to working 6 days a week but that extra day makes a big difference.  I don’t have to worry about taking out time to go to things at school, I can compensate for not making bedtime for weeks on end by having holiday time together as a family and most of all I haven’t just thrown in the towel and stopped working because there were times when working full time that I brushed off my CV and wrote my resignation letter because I just could not go on as things were

So what I’d say to these dinosaurs we seem to have to work for is don’t assume that having babies makes us less competent or less motivated but realise that if you don’t give us a chance to show you we can do this, even if you think  we can’t, you are going to lose good people and perhaps the economic impact of that won’t be immediately obvious but you are going to be missing out

 

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4 comments to Time for the dinosaurs to be extinct?

  • Zoe

    Hi
    Nothing else to say, you said it perfectly!!!
    Zoe x

  • You are not the only one who copies George when using the word dinosaur (rawr). Just thought you’d like to know.

  • Hi Muddling Along..

    One thing led to another, I arrived at your site from a link on a friend’s FB status discussion, and it just happens that this particular post speaks my mind..

    Here (in Indonesia), being hired part-time often means working without employee packages/benefits. The union requires that people should be hired permanently with proper packages/benefits, and companies would only hire staff permanently if they are willing to be committed full-time.

    There’s almost no work for stay-at-home mothers (and students), while a lot of mothers have the adequate knowledge and skills to apply at work places, if they can work part-time.

    I really hope that this situation can change soon, and thank you for sharing this post :-)

    -Indri-

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